I am watching videos while my wife meets with our therapist on the morning of day 3 of our disclosure. This is an interesting video, related to the science of addiction, that addiction is actually a disease, and the impact on the brain. The short and long term impacts are staggering and are illustrative of the depths of my addiction and the difficulty to rewire my brain and break out of this place of depression and damage to myself, my spouse and my family. I keep saying over and over with each new revelation that I didn’t know, I didn’t know, I didn’t know. I am very aware and concerned about not taking responsibility. I do take responsibility for my behavior. There is so much here that I didn’t know, or more accurately, didn’t see.
We are discussing my assessment results. I took several assessments when I scheduled the intensive and on the first day of the intensive. Now I get to hear the results. What I am hearing is not what I expected. My anxiety is high, which doesn’t surprise me. My score on the depression scale is way too high, according to my therapist. He wants me to see a psychiatrist. He thinks my deep level of depression could hinder recovery. Wow. Ok, I don’t even know that I want to explore that word and what it means. It aligns with something my counselor said as well. He said I put on a fake face when I come in and talk with him, but he knows I am masking something deeper, that I am avoiding my feelings and don’t want to sit in them. I don’t think I even know if that is true or not. Based upon my judgment to this point, I am safer taking someone else’s word for it.
We are meeting together with the therapist again. He is talking directly to me. He is describing the difference in guilt and shame. Guilt, according to his definition, is that I know I have done bad things. Shame is that I believe I am a bad person. He asked me what did I feel, guilt or shame? I feel shame right now. How can I not? I am sitting in the wreckage of my life and the impact of my actions on the one person in this world I swore to protect and love and honor. The impact is raw and real and visible in her complete devastation. How could I do this to her and my family for so long? How could I do this to them….and to me? I must be a bad person. So yes, I feel shame for who I am and what I have done.
So he told me to stop. Stop talking, stop thinking, stop judging, stop everything. Look him in the eyes and listen very closely. Ok,, I am shutting up. I am listening and looking and paying attention.
“I see people every week in the same position you are in. I can’t always say this, but I want you to listen to me and know this is true. You are a good man.”